by Andy Brouwer
You wouldn’t believe I work in tourism would you…I forgot to mention the new branding for wooing tourists to visit Cambodia. In attempting to highlight the country and its many attractions, the tourism folks are now telling everyone that Cambodia is more than just Angkor Wat. With a heavy focus on eco-tourism, adverts on CNN International also include Apsara dancers, beaches, shadow puppets and of course, Angkor, under the new slogan of Cambodia, Kingdom of Wonder.
So how do you think its sits alongside the other slogans in this part of the world? Here’s a few for your digestion: “Amazing Thailand. “Uniquely Singapore.” “Incredible India.” “100% Pure New Zealand.” “Where The Bloody Hell Are You? Come To Australia.” “Malaysia, Truly Asia.” “Indonesia—Islands of the Gods.” “Korea—Soul of Asia.” “Hong Kong—Live It, Love It.” The list goes on. As you are probably aware, Cambodia received 2 million visitors last year (and tourism revenue amounted to $1.4 billion). So how are the other countries in Asia doing on visitor arrivals? Malaysia rose from single digits to 17.5 million visitors in 2006. It expects to hit the 22 million mark this year, and will dislodge Thailand as Southeast Asia’s most preferred destination, being voted as 2007’s world’s favorite. Already the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination, China plans to be the global leader by 2020. China received 28.12 million tourists last year whilst Hong Kong welcomed 28 million. With a national carrier that boasts of flying the world’s biggest aircraft, the A-380, Singapore is about to hit its target of 17 million visitors in 2008. Thailand are looking at receiving 15 million guests this year. Indonesia averages 5.5 million visitors yearly, Vietnam reached 4 million in 2007 whilst the Philippines will receive 3 million. Finally, Laos topped 1.6 million arrivals last year.